Pleasure is easy but happiness is hard
Pleasure is easy.
A rush of pleasure neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin can easily be obtained by activities like browsing social media, eating a cookie, laughing, etc.
While some of these activities are good for us, some can be harmful if we get addicted to short-term momentary pleasure.
Instant gratification is not reliable for long-term greater happiness.
Everyone wants to be happy. We do most of the things in life because we want to be happy. So why is it so hard to be happy?
Once we get happiness it doesn’t take much time before we lose it. We keep chasing happiness and it never seems to stay with us.
What if we stop chasing happiness? How amazing it would be if we become a ‘happiness magnet’.
There is no magic spell to attract happiness. But there are a few ways I personally use to ‘hack’ happiness.
Suffer? Isn’t suffering opposite of happiness?
We all have been taught that suffering is miserable. It’s painful and makes us feel terrible.
It’s all true. But what we’re not often told is that suffering is happiness in disguise.
If we never experience suffering we’ll never experience true happiness. In order for us to truly appreciate the beauty of happiness, we need to experience suffering.
A prize money earned by thousands of hours of hard work and practice is way more valuable than money won from a lottery. Yes, both will bring happiness to you but the happiness that you’ll experience in the first scenario would be priceless.
The first reason for that is the feeling of pride and achievement which you will not get if you win a lottery. The more effort we put into something, the more we value it.
Another reason why suffering brings happiness to us is that when our goal is meaningful enough, suffering becomes a way of happiness.
If you look at athletes training hard, you might think that they are in misery and pain. They indeed experience pain but happiness becomes part of the pain.
You don’t need to smile to be happy. You could be sweating, huffing and puffing and be happy if you enjoy something.
I’m sure you’ll have at least one thing in life that you enjoy suffering for. It could be exercising, hustling, parenting, traveling, and so on. Every journey is a combination of pain and pleasure. The combination results in happiness.
Whether you believe it or not, we seek obstacles. If life were too easy, we’ll be bored to death.
2. Take shots of happiness
Happiness is a state, not an object to keep. If you aim to be happy 24*7, you’ll end up in misery. At one point, you’ll become tired of being happy and emotions like anger and sadness will take its place.
The absence of happiness will create room for happiness. You can fill the void of unhappiness with activities that can make you feel at peace. Activities like deep work, deep thinking don’t directly bring happiness to us but they can put us in the state of flow which I’ve talked about in the previous post.
Remind yourself to be happy. We all have heard the phrase “happiness is a choice”. What it means is that at any given moment, we can change our mental state. Realize that all our thoughts are a product of our experiences, surroundings, and imagination.
If you’re dwelling on a past mistake or worrying about a future event, you can choose to look up at the sky and get lost in the beauty of nature. I know it’s easier said than done. It takes practice and awareness of our thoughts to ‘choose happiness’.
At least once a week, schedule a gratitude meeting with yourself. You can do it on daily basis on a journal too but don’t let it become a mundane task. Writing or speaking can help you express your thoughts but you need to feel the emotions every time you express gratitude.
3. Miss out on life
We have unlimited choices at any moment of our life. We are always missing out on something. There is no best way to spend your time.
Sometimes, we feel sad because of missing out an event or activity. Be okay with that sadness. When we choose to do something, we are automatically not doing thousands of other things that we could have done.
Appreciate the one thing that you’re not missing out on. If you were not reading this post, you would be doing some other activity. But you don’t have to think about what you’re not doing. The possibilities are endless.
4. Do random acts of kindness with no expectation of getting anything in return.
It’s no surprise that making others happy is one of the best ways to think beyond our own problems. If you do something bigger than yourself, you’ll be free of your own small worries of life.
You can do the random act of kindness for your friends, family, colleague, strangers or simply share happiness with them by involving them in your experience.
If you want to pursue kindness, you’ll first have to be happy yourself. If you’re not in a positive state, you’ll do injustice to people around you.
Make others happy so that you can be happy and be happy so that you can make others happy.